On Tuesday night, 69.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the sole vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.
The Biden-Palin matchup set a new V.P. debate TV audience record, beating the previous high of 56.7 million viewers set by the debate between Rep. Geraldine Ferraro and then-V.P. George H.W. Bush in 1984*.
Biden and Palin’s debate also surpassed the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, which drew an audience of 52.4 million last Friday night.
During the last presidential election in 2004, the vice presidential debate between V.P. Dick Cheney and Sen. John Edwards drew 43.6 million viewers.
Coverage of the Biden-Palin debate was carried live on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo, BBC-America, CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC from approximately 9pm to 10:30pm EST Thursday night.
*The universe of potential TV viewers has grown significantly since 1984.
View the full media alert.
Read coverage of Nielsen’s findings by Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Ad Age, and Mediaweek.